A Guide to San Diego

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A Guide to San Diego

Comment San Diego, California
  Architecture at Balboa Park

Architecture at Balboa Park


San Diego is slept on. I too was guilty of not knowing what this city, a mere two hours from Los Angeles, had to offer. I've had people over the years ask me for recommendations for San Diego and unfortunately, every time I came up short. I hated being stumped. As much as I travel, especially within our beautiful state of California, I realized it was a bit ridiculous I had absolutely nothing to share about San Diego. And why was that? Because I had assumed it was merely for families who were interested in amusement parks. I was wrong–seriously wrong. While on this trip, sponsored by Visit San Diego, I couldn’t help but think of all the times my friend Andre Power (a former resident) told me San Diego was interesting and that the vibes were chill. He was right, but it is typically best to experience these things for yourself.

As with any trip, there was quite some preparation that went into creating my itinerary. I don’t ever take off without a proper plan in place. Do you ever wonder how I manage to see so much while on the road? It’s a concerted effort I make to utilize every second while traveling. From the moment I arrived in San Diego, I had a plan, but as always, left room for some spontaneity. I stayed a few days in the city but could have easily spent a couple more, as there was so much to explore. I couldn’t believe how many beautiful sites and institutions I visited–that were free, no less– and how many more I added to my list while there. With that being said, here is my San Diego City Guide. & learn more about the city here.

 

ARCHITECTURE

 
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Salk Institute & Research Center
10010 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 453-4100

This was my absolute favorite destination while in San Diego. In fact, after my visit, I put Salk in my top 10 favorite buildings in the world. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this concrete masterpiece is home to a prestigious research center with grounds open to the public. I could sit here for hours, soaking up vitamin D and surrounded by superior brutalist structures designed by Louis I. Kahn. Salk is a very special place.

 
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San Diego Central Library
330 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 236-5800

I worked at the Central Library in DTLA for six years. I’ve always been in love with libraries, books, and reading; this might explain to some of you why I stay coming with the facts. When I travel, I like to check out the local library and San Diego offered one of the most impressive I have ever seen, both in its architecture and collection. Their collection is strong and the rare books room is absolutely stunning. If you love libraries, this is a must.

 

 

ARTS & CULTURE

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Balboa Park
1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-0512

While exploring the Botanical Building at Balboa Park I looked up and asked myself, “why is this the first time I’ve ever seen this?” I was shook while enveloped in the fecund wonderland. How could something so beautiful escape me for so long? I was mad at every single person I knew for keeping this a secret. Maybe they didn’t know? You have to visit Balboa Park, if not for the botanicals alone. The added bonus is all the other cool museums on site. There’s so much to do here!

 

 
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Sunset Cliffs
Ladera St, San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 525-8213

I like to make out at the beach and if I had a boo in San Diego, this is where I’d take them. If that’s not your speed, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is also the perfect place for mindful meditation, a run with your dog, or to post up to breathe the incredible Pacific Ocean air. Nothing beats being alongside the ocean and here, the views go on for miles. Parking is ample and during the week, you’ll feel like you have the place all to yourself.

 
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Timken Museum of Art
1500 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-5548

Art is crucial to my travels and I am always looking for unique spaces to see it. While combing through images of San Diego on Instagram, I came across a bold pink wall as the backdrop to classic paintings. I was floored and had to see this for myself. The Timken Museum of Art is known as “San Diego’s jewel box” and is the second most important mid-century modern building in the city. It’s also home to an elegant collection in an intimate setting and admission is free.

 

 
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Mission San Diego de Alcalá
10818 San Diego Mission Rd, San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 283-7319

What's a trip along the California coast without a visit to one of the missions? I was born in a city with a mission–San Gabriel–and the fourth grade statewide Mission project clearly made a lasting impression on me. I'm obsessed with the history of our state and I was excited to finally experience the San Diego Mission after all these years. It's one of the more beautiful I've seen and it's garden is absolutely tranquil.

 

FOOD

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Born & Raised
1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 202-4577

I have well-documented my love for steak over the years and it brings me great joy to share that my 18oz ribeye at Born & Raised was the best steak I’ve eaten in Southern California. It’s been awhile since I last ate a piece of meat that was so delicious I moaned with every bite. In addition to quality cuts, the cocktail service at this semi-new restaurant is superb–the Daisy is my personal favorite. This place is dripping with old-school glamour but with a contemporary attitude. 

 

 
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Puesto
789 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 233-8880

After trying Puesto at Tacolandia last year, I knew when in San Diego I needed to hit their brick and mortar. Although their tacos are delicious, it was their Mexican Street Bowl that I had on my radar most of all. If you love eating tropical fruit from a clear plastic bag sold under a rainbow umbrella, this is a must. From their margaritas to esquite, every single thing I tried from the menu at Puesto was solid. If you enjoy fresh handmade tortillas and quality ingredients, eat here.

 
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Little Lion Cafe
1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 756-6921

One of my followers suggested I eat brunch at Little Lion Cafe and what a great recommendation that turned out to be. No reservations, no attitudes, just a cozy restaurant with a few tables dedicated to serving fresh California ingredients. You must absolutely order the gluten-free Dutch baby with whipped cream and fresh berries. It’s a sweet breakfast treat that is guaranteed to make you smile. Don’t forget the side Duroc bacon! It’s top-notch. Delicious espresso as well.

 

 
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Provisional at the Pendry Hotel
550 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 738-7000

There are only 3 known Moët vending machines within the United States and one of them can be found in San Diego at Provisional inside the Pendry Hotel. Luxury has never been so easy—purchase a special gold Moët coin, drop it in, and enjoy your personal sized bubbly. Get it on the gram and I promise you everyone will go crazy! I never had so many comments in my IG stories when I posted my experience. Can I have one of these at home, please?

This trip was funded in part with City of San Diego Tourism Marketing District Assessment Funds, thank you San Diego!

 
Arcosanti

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Arcosanti

2 Comments Mayer, Arizona
  View from the Sky Suite at Arcosanti

View from the Sky Suite at Arcosanti


Arcosanti, the concrete urban laboratory located at Cordes Junction, is an easy one hour drive north of Phoenix. Hop on HWY 17 and before too long you will be enveloped by pure Arizona desert. Built in the 1970s by Italian architect Paolo Soleri, this radial community began as a prototype arcology–a compact urban form intended to be self-sufficient and self-contained. The term arcology, coined by Soleri, is a portmanteau of architecture and ecology, now most often realized in sci-fi narratives. Post-doctorate, Soleri spent 18 months as a student at Taliesin West in fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright. Having toured both Taliesin West and Arcosanti myself, it's easy to draw aesthetic similarities, but that's where it stops, as in my research I learned that the men held conflicting architectural philosophies.  While on my impressive one-hour tour at Arcosanti I was informed that Soleri left Taliesin West as he continually found himself in opposition to Wright.

To understand Arcosanti, you must experience it. This arcology was a blueprint for a potential new way of living. It was sustainability decades before it became a buzz word. This space was intended for living, farming, entertaining, working, all within proximity of one another, thus eliminating the need for motorized vehicles, in turn minimizing the human impact on the environment. Soleri began to implement his theoretical vision by erecting Arcosanti and in many ways, his dreams are still being actualized by the current host of residents and volunteers living inside and around this desert commune.

I love Arcosanti because I love to be alone with my thoughts, tucked away in nature. Arcosanti helped me finally embrace that it's the concrete in brutalist architecture–minimal, cold, certain-excites me most of all. The complete silence coupled with crisp clean desert air elevates my consciousness. The sun, as it washes over me, is all the medicine I need for sadness. 

 
 Arcosanti Paolo Soleri Architecture
 Staying at Arcosanti
  Inside the Sky Suite at Arcosanti

Inside the Sky Suite at Arcosanti


An overnight stay in the Sky Suite is imperative while visiting Arcosanti. Overlooking the Agua Fria National Monument and sitting atop of what's probably the tallest man-made point in the Arizona desert, the sunrise makes for the most beautiful I have ever seen. I had anticipated what kind of visuals the windows in the suite would offer and pulled my bed out so that I could wake up to Earth's beauty. This is something best experienced with your own eyes. You can stay at Arcosanti for as low as $30 a night for a small room and shared bath or $40 for a regular room with a private bath. My recommendation is to splurge on the $100 a night Sky Suite, which includes a continental breakfast for two. In true arcology form, food is but a short walk from your front door. I enjoyed two meals during my stay at Arcosanti, as the kitchen serves a few times throughout the day. Dinner is buffet style every night, with volunteers from the center preparing specials to accommodate the salad bar. There's even a make-shift but very cool bar maintained by a friendly man who also appears to live on property. If you want to unplug, forget the bullshit, and simply enjoy life, this is the kind of environment Arcosanti fosters.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the famous Soleri windbells crafted and sold at Arcosanti, so beautiful that we could not pass up the opportunity to take one home. Sales of these bells comprise a major portion of the financing at Arcosanti. As visitors, we were encouraged to see how the ceramic and bronze bells were made, informed that a casting occurs every morning in the foundry. Again, the importance of taking a guided tour while on the property! We woke up early so that we could witness the pouring of the bronze–a completely silent ritual–that is taken extremely serious due to the heat of the metal. Watching the Arcosanti artisans at work was an interesting sight, one I highly recommend.

My stay at Arcosanti reminded me that my life is fueled by the desire to travel, which began as child on the many road trips my family took. As a California resident, many of our excurions were desert focused because of our proximity to Palm Springs, Death Valley, and the Southwest. As you've seen documented through my work for well over a decade, the desert is where I continually go to recharge. Its the place I seek when I need absolute silence The desert gets me. There are no judgments when nature surrounds you. It's hre I feel totally free and realize that I am one dramatic experience away from living on the fringe in Slab City or now, pouring liquid bronze at Arcosanti's foundry. 

Arcosanti | 13555 S. Cross L Rd. Mayer, AZ 86333

 

 
  Arcosanti, Designed by Paolo Soleri

Arcosanti, Designed by Paolo Soleri

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  Arcosanti Ceramics Apse

Arcosanti Ceramics Apse

  Arcosanti Vaults

Arcosanti Vaults

  Inside Arcosanti Dining Hall

Inside Arcosanti Dining Hall

 Design Inside Arcosanti Dining Hall
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  Arcosanti Soleri Windbells

Arcosanti Soleri Windbells

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Arcosanti_Vaults.jpg
  Sunrise Inside the Sky Suite at Arcosanti

Sunrise Inside the Sky Suite at Arcosanti

Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week

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Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week

Comment Palm Springs, California
GreaterPalmSprings.jpg

Last year the Greater Palm Springs tourism board invited me to experience Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week; you may remember watching my culinary adventures via Instagram or Instagram Stories as I ate my way through the desert. Now that this yearly fête is but only a few months away, I thought it was only proper to blog about where I ate as to inspire your next trip to this desert oasis. I travel to eat, don't you?

Palm Springs is still one of my favorite California destinations and with it only being two hours from Los Angeles there's no excuse as to why you shouldn't pack your bag and hit the open road. While in the Greater Palm Springs area, I had the chance to eat in Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. Maybe this is the first time you've heard of these cities–well, there's even more than that! When I'm in the desert, I function on two speeds: 100% chill or explore explore explore. I enjoy seeking out the best esoteric sites, luxurious hotels & spas, and delicious restaurants. I have a folder in my car dedicated to desert maps, facts, and a notebook where I jot down all of my discoveries. Palm Springs is amazing, but there is so much more to see beyond the city limits. I encourage you to drive down an unfamiliar road and see what you may find. And of course, eat as many good meals as you can.

Mark your calendars, Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week returns June 1 - June 18, 2018.

 
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Pinzimini
71333 Dinah Shore Dr, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
760.770.2150
make reservations

Pinzimini is nestled inside Westin Mission Hills, located in Rancho Mirage, and ideal for the quiet set who wants to unplug and enjoy resort life. Whether you order a drink at the bar or indulge in a dinner wine pairing, this restaurant is a great place to kick back and imbibe. I will forever appreciate a hotel restaurant because sometimes you simply don't want to leave the property and I love the idea of living in a plush bath robe. Wine and charcuterie is a must at Pinzimini but for restaurant week you can expect a special prix-fixe menu.

 
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Essence at Two Bunch Palms
67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
760-329-8791
make reservations

Essence at Two Bunch Palms is my favorite restaurant that I had never heard of and haven't stopped thinking about since my first meal there. Chef Jenna Van Loon is a genius simply of the strength of her quinoa pancakes which are prepared to heavenly perfection. I am not exaggerating. This is where you eat when you want to be nourished and unwind. If you're a guest on the property, robes aren't only welcomed at the breakfast table, they're encouraged. Essence's assortment of fresh juices and chilaquiles are stars on the breakfast menu, so make sure to order those. 

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Workshop Kitchen + Bar
800 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262
760.459.3451
make reservations

I crowned Workshop Kitchen + Bar my favorite restaurant in Palm Springs after my first time eating there, or should I say first bite?  The brutalist interior is absolute perfection. It's the kind of restaurant design that I have dreamt about, now witnessed come to life. Equally as great is the farm-to-table focused menu and superior cocktail program, slinging both classics and original creations. Make sure to pull up with a little extra cash because you are going to want to order everything on this spectacular menu. read my full review

 
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Koutouki Greek Estiatorio
73675 CA-111, Palm Desert, CA 92260
760.834.8221
make reservations

Family-owned restaurants will forever be my favorite kind of establishments and the charm of Koutouki is something that cannot be bought, it's a vibe that can only be created through love. In addition to impeccable customer service and a welcoming ambiance, their Greek dishes are pure comfort. I could've sat al fresco all day enjoying every dish from their mezze selection: homous, kopanisti, tzatziki, dolmades, grilled octopus, et al. Grilled meats are a great choice from the menu but the lamb chops are a must order. This is my first choice for homestyle Greek food in the desert.

Moorten Botanical Garden

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Moorten Botanical Garden

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  Cactarium at Moorten Botanical Gardens

Cactarium at Moorten Botanical Gardens


Moorten Botanical Gardens and Cactarium is one of my favorite destinations in Palm Springs. It is often referred to as a hidden gem although it has an 80 year history. Located at the Southern end of Palm Canyon Drive, this desert jungle is home to over 3,000 species of plants. The Cactarium pictured abovea major highlight of the garden–is built inside a vintage quonset hut and sprawling with exotic cacti from all across the world. Clark Moorten runs the show here, an older gentleman who is also a great conversationalist. I took the time to chat with Mr. Moorten about his plants, the history of his family's garden, and what makes his pet tortoise special. Believe me, you don't want to miss seeing the tortoise and his strawberry stained lips, a personal highlight on my last visit.

Although the garden is located off one of the more busy roads in Palm Springs, just down the street from the Ace Hotel, when I am at Moorten's, I feel nothing but tranquility. I am comforted by the silence of the desert, I embrace the warmth on my skin. The secluded gardens at Moorten's are perfect for a meditative stroll, cute date, or an afternoon jaunt with the plant-lover in your life. I brought my mother to Moorten's last time we were in Palm Springs and she loved it. There are even cacti for sale and she packed up a giant box of succulents to to plant in her garden back home.

Moorten Botanical Garden & Cacatarium | 1701 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

 
Desert X - Doug Aitken - Mirage

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Desert X - Doug Aitken - Mirage

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  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X


I was not going to miss the opportunity to witness Doug Aitken's Mirage during its much hyped run of 2017. I have been a admirer of Aitken's art for some time, particularly his pieces that encompass mirrors, nature, and/or cities. After seeing his Still Life exhibition at Regen Projects in 2014 and his first North American survey, Doug Aitken: Electric Earth, at MOCA in 2016, I decided that wherever his art would be, so would I. During a private tour organized by MOCA, I had the opportunity to meet Doug which was a highlight in my art world narrative.

When the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Board invited me to come enjoy Palm Springs Restaurant Week, I made a list of all the sites I wanted to see while eating my way through the desert–Mirage was at the top. This house of mirrors created by Aitken was part of Desert X, an international art exhibition located in Palm Springs, California, now approaching its second year. Curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield, this site specific installation is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in the desert. This life-size kaleidoscope is sans inhabitants or objects, its purpose is to reflect the vast Western landscape of which it is surrounded. Absorbing every element within its view, Mirage's appearance shifts with every step in a different direction. While in the home I lost track of time as I was completely enveloped with every moving reflection, even my own.  

 
  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

When researching the installation I learned that the design was inspired by California Ranch Style homes, particularly those erected by Frank Lloyd Wright in the West. I was excited to learn this structure was a reflection of an architect who's work I continually study; made me love it even more.

Although Mirage is now permanently closed, Desert X is currently gearing up for the second edition of their much-praised exhibition, opening to the public next year. Once again, Desert X will transform the Palm Springs desert landscape through site-specific installations; I am beyond curious to see what artists the team has procured for 2019! This is something not to be missed. On view February 9 - April 21 2019.

 
  Inside   Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

Inside Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X
  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X
Workshop Kitchen + Bar

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Workshop Kitchen + Bar

Comment Palm Springs, California
  Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Palm Springs

Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Palm Springs


My favorite restaurant in Palm Springs is Workshop Kitchen + Bar, located in the historic El Paseo Building in Uptown Palm Springs Design District. After decades of eating in the desert, this has become my go-to dinner recommendation without any caveats, as both Workshop's menu and design are absolute perfection; it's the best of Palm Springs. For the lover of Brutalist architecture, the restaurant's interior is a concrete paradise, one that might evoke praise from Le Corbusier if he were alive today. Winner of the 2015 James Beard Award for best restaurant design, Workshop cemented itself–no pun intended–as a proper restaurant destination on the West Coast. Alongside Hueso in Guadalajara and Sketch Bar in London, Workshop holds a top spot on my best restaurant interiors list. And the food, much like the restaurant's aesthetic, is executed with the utmost precision, relying only on a few-hand picked ingredients. A minimalist approach all around.

Helmed by Chef & Owner Michael Beckman, Palm Spring's finest focuses on seasonal foods from local farms, with a menu that is market-driven. Although they offer divine fish and meat options, its their selection of vegetables that are next level good. If you enjoy elevated plant-based dishes, you will be delighted at Workshop, quite possibly even surprised. Their menu is reflective of the Southern California movement over the past decade to serve the highest quality produce and for that I am appreciative. 

 
  Workshop Kitchen + Bar Menu

Workshop Kitchen + Bar Menu

  Hemingway Especial

Hemingway Especial


If you enjoy a finely crafted libation, please take advantage of the impressive cocktail program at Workshop. It's an absolute must whether your prefer classic or original cocktails. I was feeling festive and ordered the Hemingway Special, M-80, and Spring Fling to wet my whistle, three very different cocktails, but all excellent. As tequila and mezcal are my preferred spirits, I was especially taken with the M-80 which combines the two with lime juice, ginger juice, and grapefruit oils. When I drink, I prefer my sips to feel smooth and at Workshop it felt like silk. If you don't imbibe often, I'd recommend you take it slow, as their drinks go down with ease.

I am struck when I witness great precision, as it shows an unwavering dedication to quality. At Workshop I easily gathered that Chef Michael Beckman and his staff are committed to crafting the finest dishes, they're focused, respect the craft and are passionate about their work. Everything that landed on our concrete slab was impressive.

As per usual, I ordered octopus–but this was far different than any octopus that came before it. This was Octopus Carpaccio and I fell in love with the beauty of this chilled plate topped with cauliflower fleurettes, roasted red peppers, lemon, olive oil, piment d'espelette and micro cilantro. I had never seen octopus, a personal favorite, prepared so elegantly. Among the other small plates ordered were Shaved Brussel Sprouts, House-Cured Gravlax Tartine, and Roasted Heirloom Carrots; the carrots were top tier, even rivaling the ones I raved about at FnB in Scottsdale. Their superiority shined through in flavor, having tasted as if they were just pulled from the ground, which is quite the possibility with Workshop's farm-to-table ethos. Tossed with Temecula farm honey, avocado oil, black garlic and petite mustard greens, these sweet little babies are on my must order list.

 
  Spring Fling

Spring Fling

  Workshop Kitchen + Bar Communal Table

Workshop Kitchen + Bar Communal Table

  Must Order: Octopus Carpaccio

Must Order: Octopus Carpaccio


I didn't think anything could surpass the flavor impression made by the carrots and that's when the hearty plate of Romanesco arrived at the table. Accompanied by Temecula Valley Honey, whipped goat cheese, grilled Kishu tangerines, Fresno chili and garlic ferment, this "small" plate boasted strong and unique flavors. The fractal patterns tossed across the plate were gorgeous; the colors chartreuse and orange playing off one another like a work of art. 

To round out our already phenomenal dinner, two large plates made their way to our table–the Farmer's Market Spring Vegetables and an order of the Black Cod. I can say without hesitation that I have never ordered a $45 plate of vegetables and was curious as to why the dish out-priced duck, fish, and steak. Made with fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, hedgehog mushrooms, fava beans + leaves, English peas, kohlrabi, Weiser Farm pee wee potatoes + parsnips, harissa yogurt, and Serrano chili ferment. Had I known how scarce fiddlehead ferns are, I would've understood the price tag. The funny thing is, I've been spoiled with so many extravagant meals, that I've seen the fiddlehead many times without blinking an eye. All I knew is that I love them, because I love a vibrant crunch. Having done my research, which is only proper when trying to expand one's culinary knowledge, I learned that the Fiddlehead Ferns are considered expensive in comparison to other vegetables you might find at the farmers market. They are truly seasonal, so much that you might blink and miss them. The production costs are high as they are wild-harvested, not cultivated, foraged by those mostly in the Northeastern United States. Averaging about $19.99 a pound, these beautiful coils are something special in the world of produce.

Make reservations at Workshop Kitchen + Bar Palm Springs when you desire a thoughtful dinner made with quality ingredients. The ambiance is perfect for an evening with your girls or a romantic desert date. In town solo dolo? Pull up a seat at the communal table and make new friends, or not. Workshop is a vibe, believe that. The food is superb, the design sexy–that's my favorite combination.

Workshop Kitchen + Bar, 800 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

 
  Farmers Market Spring Vegetables

Farmers Market Spring Vegetables

  Workshop Kitchen + Bar Brutalist Interior

Workshop Kitchen + Bar Brutalist Interior


Executive Chef: Michael Beckman
Chef de Cuisine: Max Becker
Architecture & Design: SOMA

 
  House-Cured Gravlax Tartine

House-Cured Gravlax Tartine

  Black Cod

Black Cod

  Roasted Heirloom Carrots

Roasted Heirloom Carrots

A Guide to Guadalajara

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A Guide to Guadalajara

Comment Guadalajara, Mexico
  Parish of St. Peter the Apostle, Tlaquepaque

Parish of St. Peter the Apostle, Tlaquepaque


Guadalajara is the fourth largest city in Mexico and the largest & capital of the state of Jalisco. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect touching down in GDL but I knew that because I'd be in Mexico I could count on exquisite cuisine, incredible architecture, good art, and warm people. During my week in the city, this is exactly what I experienced and so much more.  This is the culture I know and I am always filled with so much pride when back in the country of my lineage. 

GDL (which is Guadalajara for short) is home to Mariachi music and tortas ahogadas, but in the past decade it has been touted as an art, design, and culinary destination–three of my greatest passions. It's not every city that immediately has me itching to book a trip back, but that's what Guadalajara stirred up in me, and not simply because I had a fun date with a really cute Mexican painter. It was everything about the city. The lush tree-lined streets of Colonia Lafayette, the ceramics in Tlaquepaque, and the blue agave fields in the Highlands. Every moment spent in Guadalajara was special. Just over 3 hours on a plane from LAX–GDL, an incredible city awaits you.

 

ART

 Hospicio Cabañas

Hospicio Cabañas
Calle Cabañas 8, Las Fresas, 44360 Guadalajara, Jalisco
+52 33 3668 1642

Mexico is home to 34 Unesco World Heritage sites, making it the most in all of the Americas. Las Cabañas is not to be missed, seriously not to be missed, while in Guadalajara. The major highlight of the site is the series of monumental frescoes by José Clemente Orozco, including The Man of Fire, which is one of his most famed works of art, completed in1939.

 
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Taller Paco Padilla
Calle Prisciliano Sanchez 142, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
+52 33 363 54838

Only a brief twenty-five minute drive from Guadalajara is Taller Paco Padilla, a cool ceramic studio in Tlaquepaque, a puebla just outside the city. I had the opportunity to take a private tour of this space and loved every minute of it. I bought a lot of unique pieces here; you'd be amazed at how far your dollar gets you at Studio Padilla.

 

 

HOTELS

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Casa Fayette
Calle Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 2308, Lafayette, 44160, GDL
+52 33 367 92000

This unique property is on the roster of hotelier geniuses Grupo HABITA. Casa Fayette is for the sophisticate who is obsessed with beauty.  It's a1940's mansion which was transformed into a design paradise within the city. This 37-room boutique hotel is located in Colonia Lafayette, with a roof top pool, delicious & beautiful restaurant, multiple bars, and spa. If interiors are your thing, this is like going to actual heaven.

 
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Hotel Demetria
Av. de la Paz 2219, Lafayette, 44140 Guadalajara, Jalisco
+52 33 381 80060

This is a hotel for art lovers and party goers. Hotel Demetria is located in Colonia Lafayette, known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. The10,000-square-foot boutique hotel has 37 rooms & six apartments. Amenities include a gym, rooftop pool, jacuzzi and two bars. You can find Agua de Piedra and Casa Bosques Chocolates in your room. When you book, ask for the giant bathtub.

 

RESTAURANTS

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Hueso
Efrain González Luna 2061, 44140 Guadalajara, Jalisco
+52 33 361 53591

This is one of my favorite designed restaurants in the world, like top 2. It's absolutely beautiful and the food is savory, seasonal, and will not disappoint. Meats are big on the menu but I also ate one of the best salads of my life here. Perfect place for romance, even if you are single. You feel sexy here. I love everything about it. The Cadena brothers really did something special here.

 
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Alcalde
Av. Mexico 2903, 44690 Guadalajara, Jalisco
+52 33 361 57400

If you love seafood, it's stunning here and prepared to perfection. The vibe is high in Alcalde and Chef Paco Ruano is crafting magic with his hands. A menu full of great cocktails for those who appreciate a good libation. This is where I had the best rice pudding of my life if you really want to know what time it is. When you visit Guadalajara, it would be a sin not to eat at Alcalde.

 
Hospicio Cabañas

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Hospicio Cabañas

Comment Guadalajara, Mexico
  The Man on Fire, José Clemente Orozco

The Man on Fire, José Clemente Orozco


One of my life goals is to see as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as I possibly can and Mexico is home to the most in the Americas and seventh in the world. You can see a full list of their sites here, which surpasses both the United States of America and the UK if you were curious. Hospicio Cabañas marks my third World Heritage Site in Mexico, having already seen the jaw dropping pre-Hispanic city of Chichen-Itza in the Yucatán and the Historic Centre of Mexico City in DF. Both which are experiences I will never forget. I was overwhelmed with excitement when I saw Hospicio Cabañas (or Las Cabañas) on our Don Julio itinerary, as seeing José Clemente Orozco's mural's were imperative while in Guadalajara, and this is where his most famed are celebrated.

Although I briefly studied and created fine art before focusing on my undergraduate work in Women's Studies, it wasn't until 2016 when I dated a painter who really put me on to Orozco. I was familiar with the name but never had the opportunity to study the artist, another reflection of how Mexican geniuses are often excluded from the academic art canon. There are few positive things I can say about this painter I once called my boo but he did have an extensive collection of art books, of which I read often. One day when telling me of his past residency in Guadalajara, he began piling book after book in front of me, almost all of them focusing on the history and talents of José Clemente Orozco. I was blown away by his work while simultaneously disappointed no one ever pulled me aside and said, you should really know about this Natalie. It was at that moment I decided I needed to see much of Orozco I possibly could, but most importantly his frescoe depicting the allegory of The Man on Fire, located at Hospicio Cabañas.

 
  Living My Best Life at Hospicio Cabañas

Living My Best Life at Hospicio Cabañas

  Sculpture by  José Luis Cuevas

Sculpture by José Luis Cuevas


Here I was at Las Cabañas, living my best life as a Mexican American woman in Mexico. While on our tour of the property with one of the coolest docents I have ever met–he was 60+ and continually referenced Heavy Metal bands–I found myself standing under Orozco's mural with tears in my eyes. The Man on Fire was magnificent and of monumental proportions; it moved me in a way few others have done before. It was something I wanted to stare at for hours but we had a full day ahead of us. Orozco's fresco simply could not be summarized by adjectives. You must experience it with your own eyes. This epic mural should be taught and appreciated in schools much like Michelangelo's work at The Sistine Chapel; it's a masterpiece.

Hospicio Cabañas | Calle Cabañas 8, Las Fresas, 44360 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico

 
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Concept: Bishop Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas
Architect & Design: Manuel Tolsá and José Gutiérrez
Masterpiece Murals: José Clemente Orozco
World Heritage Site granted in 1997